Re-design for Town of Arlington Gibbs Building for Use as a Sixth Grade Middle School

Gibbs Middle School Main Lobby

Construction to begin July 1, 2017; Completion expected for August, 2018

Finegold Alexander Architects and the Town of Arlington, Massachusetts announce the re-design of Arlington’s Gibbs Building to accommodate the 6th grade class. Construction is scheduled to begin in early July. The project team includes NV5 as the Owner’s Project Manager and Shawmut Design and Construction as the Construction Manager.

Gibbs Classroom - breakout space-cropThe 69,000-square-foot Gibbs building was originally built as a school in 1928.  It was renovated and a new addition was added in 1973. The school was de-commissioned about 25 years ago due to a decrease in enrollment, and since then has been leased to non-profit organizations, including the Lesley Ellis School.

In the past 10 to 15 years, the Town of Arlington has seen significant population growth. In 2015, the Town voted to take back the Gibbs Building to create a standalone 6th Grade Middle School for 500 students to relieve the current and projected, overcrowded Ottosan Middle School. Finegold Alexander Architects – working closely with the Superintendent, Kathleen Bodie, and Director of Facilities, Ruthy Bennett – is aiming to create a design that is inspirational and conforms to the high quality educational program, while at the same time  cost-effective and efficient to manage.  The project is targeting LEED V4 for Schools.

Gibbs Middle School Library

“The design will include a renovated main entrance on the Foster Street side to create a warm, safe and inviting approach to the school. The main goal of the renovation is to create flexible classrooms, as well as breakout collaborative spaces in the corridors.  The media center will be reconfigured to create an environment conducive to 21st century learning. “We are editing out, rather than adding to the building,” said Tony Hsiao, a principal at Finegold Alexander Architects.

“The goal is to create a welcoming environment, one that will inspire students to seek opportunities for learning, ” said Regan Shields Ives, a Principal at Finegold Alexander and the Project Manager for the Gibbs school project.

The first floor will contain the cafeteria, language classrooms, an auditorium, music classroom, technology lab, and administration offices. The second floor consists of two clusters of four classrooms, the gymnasium, art room, digital media lab, and media center. The third floor includes another two clusters of classrooms. There will be an outdoor classroom and community garden space, green space for recess and physical education classes.  The parking lot will remain in place and will include two electric car charging stations.

Design is under way, and the project will be completed in August of 2018, in time for the 2018-2019 school year.


Published in Arlington Patch & Town of Arlington